Duke Energy, municipal power agency close $1.25 billion deal

The Shearon Harris nuclear power plant in Wake County.
The Shearon Harris nuclear power plant in Wake County. Duke Energy photo

Duke Energy closed Friday on its $1.25 billion purchase of stakes in four power plants owned by towns and cities in eastern North Carolina.

The purchase from the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency followed a year of regulatory reviews and action by the legislature.

The agreement cut by 70 percent the debt that for decades has forced 32 cities and towns to charge more for electricity than Duke charges its retail customers. Duke will sell wholesale power to the agency under a 30-year agreement.

The power agency, which represents the municipalities, sold its partial ownership in four Duke plants: the Brunswick nuclear plant near Wilmington; Mayo and Roxboro plants in Person County; and the Harris nuclear plant near Raleigh.

The agency’s stake represented a combined 700 megawatts of generating capacity.

“This purchase will provide long-term fuel savings for Duke Energy Progress customers, and provide an important economic benefit to eastern North Carolina,” Paul Newton, Duke’s North Carolina president, said in a statement.

The sale, announced in July 2014, got approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state Utilities Commission.

North Carolina legislators this year passed measures to let Duke finance the cost of the acquisition and allow the power agency to refinance its remaining debt after the sale.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender